After knitting about eight inches on Design Mine, I measured for gauge and found the width of the back was not to measurement. Does a gauge swatch truly address the variability of yarn? A gauge swatch is definitely necessary, but until the yarn has been knitted outside the confines of a gauge swatch, does a true textile emerge.
Online Linie 79 Evita, consists of a wrapped woven inner core which creates an interesting “thick and thin” yarn. What makes Evita visually unique, also creates an inconsistent gauge. Revising the number of cast on stitches, provided an opportunity for me to really “look” at the effects of inconsistency.
The wrong side of the knitted piece has an interesting sculptural Ikat weave surface pattern. For me, the wrong side of the piece is visually more interesting, in comparison to the right side.
Sifting through articles from my archives, I found an interesting article written by Nan Roche. The article from the December 1998 issue of Bead & Button, Impressed Mokume Gane, discusses making an impression in polymer clay using rubber stamps and patinas for ancient effects. Nan Roche mentions, “I like the predictable unpredictability of the technique.”
I’ve kept the article for a time when I had the free time to explore Nan’s approach. So, here’s my first attempt.
I turned the rubber stamp upside down and placed a block of clay on top of the stamp and rolled a brayer over the block to make an impression.
When carving away the polymer, it’s important to make shallow slices to reveal the patterns from the stamp. Two types of impressions can be made revealing different results. The typical rubber stamp has a raised pattern that will create valleys in the clay when pressed into it. The negative image of the stamp has valleys which produces a raised image. In order to make your own negative image, press the rubber stamp in conditioned scrap clay and cure it. Make your negative image plate from one of the strongest polymer clay, e.g. Fimo or Premo.
I found the characters on the rubber stamp did not translate as well as I had hoped. Though instead of actual characters, a wood grain pattern emerged. By embellishing the surface with additional elements, a sculptural quality to the piece emerged.
I finally “threw caution to the wind” grabbed a spool of 28 ga. Artistic Wire, an interesting collection of beads, and began randomly stringing 450+ beads. The stringing happened over a few days, in between sewing a skirt from my pattern sloper, which by the way fits perfectly. I digress for a minute…
I decided to line the skirt, and for the first time, use a Hong Kong finish for the seams cutting my own bias strips out of silk taffeta.
After the random order of beads were on the wire, I faced the hardest part of casting on with wire.
I took a deep breath and got in my zen place and relaxed. I let the wire do the work and realized I could bend the wire any which way I wanted. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the unevenness of the knitting and texture of the different sizes and shapes of beads.
The more I knitted…the more I began to like the piece.
The advantage of knitting with wire provides a perfect opportunity for manipulating the surface. The sculptural possibilities are endless.
Next week, I plan on attending Stitches West 2013, wearing a new sweater knit using NORO Kuryeon Col. No. 185, Lot No. K. The unique knitting pattern is from NORO the World of nature, Vol. 15, Y-698. In the process of organizing my knitting literature, I found buried treasure…Vol. 15. I’ve kept this volume tucked away for atleast five years and was delighted to discover it all over again. The act of casting off stitches creates pockets which render an interesting dimensionality to the surface of the sweater. The sculptural qualities of the pattern are enhanced by the color gradations of the yarn.
I’m attracted to Japanese knitting patterns (translated) because of the visual straight forward instructions and attention to rows. This year at Stitches West, I am looking forward to a class entitled, Understanding Japanese Knitting Patterns taught by Gayle Roehm, in order to expand my knowledge of Japanese pattern symbols.
I hope to attempt a pattern designed by Setsuko Torri, detailed in Setsuko Torii Hand Knit Works.